Digital Coffee with Damien Feugas (NearForm)

Culture · Aug 15, 2019

At TELUS, our team members extend beyond the company. We have over 80 partnerships and vendors that we collaborate with. That’s a lot of voices to be heard! With the launch of our new blog, we also wanted to bring something new to the table. Inspired by one of our partners, NearForm, we're presenting Digital Coffees - a better way for us to get to know our team members both within and outside of TELUS. 

NearForm is a company that aids enterprises, such as TELUS, in creating software solutions that accelerate the speed in which we can deliver to our customers. One of the aspects that make this company so unique is the fact that they source talent from all over the world (over 20 countries) which means that the majority of the company works remotely. They’ve adapted to this unique model on a much larger scale than most companies would dare to attempt and they’ve done so with tremendous success. Recently, we had a team from NearForm fly into Toronto. A lot was accomplished in just three days before the team returned to their respective countries. In this time, we managed to find a small window of time to sit down with NearForm team member, Damien Simonin Feugas. 

damien feugas

Tell me a little bit about yourself: 

Hello! My name is Damien Simonin Feugas, and I’m a French developer, working for NearForm since 2016. I’m married and we have two lovely (but demanding) children. Besides programming, I enjoy all kinds of sports, reading and gaming.

What is your area of specialty?

I’m a JavaScript developer since 2006 (early days of Dojo), and I’ve discovered Node in 2011. 

But I’m mostly interested in whatever makes our code better and more robust.I’ve been the lead developer and software architect for 10 years now, but regardless of the tools used, I focus more on what is delivered. 

For the last three years now, I’ve been acting as a delivery architect (a role more than a position), a developer and facilitator responsible for the team delivery at the end of the day.

What project are you currently working on with TELUS? 

I’m part of the team developing a web application that supports the processing of online orders by our agents. This application will allow our processing agents to manually intervene with an order to get a product or service into the hands of our customers faster.

What has your experience been like, working with TELUS Digital? 

Very good so far. Entering such a big company, which already has a strong JavaScript culture, can be a difficult task. 

What made it easy was the dedication of two TELUS Digital team members: Wasim and Joshua, who brought quick and effective support.

But the key success factor is Joshua’s availability. He’s the product owner and can attend sprint meetings (planning, demo and retros). But more than anything else, he has time to prepare the backlog with me, iterate on designs with our product designer and tests the implemented stories with developers. Everyone knows this is a must-have, but you don’t see it that often.

One of the unique things about Nearform is the fact that almost the entire team works remotely. What are some of the advantages of this?

The most immediate thing that makes our remote model work is to have skilled and motivated developers. 

As a delivery architect, I’m no project manager. We prepare stories with the product owner and let them be. 

People take what they have to, implement it, may ask questions when needed and will pick the next story by themselves. I’m not managing their time.

It’s possible because we all are experienced developers and are able to manage personal and professional time. We value this freedom, and in return, we dedicate ourselves to projects. Trust is the key, and in the three different NearForm teams I’ve worked with, it hasn’t failed.

Time difference could be a difficult barrier though. We meet virtually quite often, and as we have a strong culture of peer-reviewing, a time overlap of 4 hours at least is better.

In the world of Digital, things are constantly shifting and evolving. How do you stay relevant in what you do? 

I read and write as much code as I can. I always have OSS side projects (at least before my second child came) such as trying to learn new tools, practices or ideas.

In my daily routine, I have two main learning opportunities: when I review other’s code, and when we start something new. Finding the proper balance between trying fancy kids latest toy and reusing boring battle-tested ones is important, so I often drive these decisions based on risks.

What’s your favourite thing about Toronto? 

It’s humongous! Lyon is the second or the third biggest city in France. And we have three “skyscrapers”!

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Wandering in the streets of Toronto is a brand new feeling for me :D

I ran on the lake banks in January, and it was very nice.

Thank you Damien for sharing a little bit about yourself and NearForm! This post is the first of many collaborations with NearForm coming to our blog so stay tuned for more. 

Authored by:
Alexandria Yeung
Design Coordinator
Alex is a Design Coordinator working across Research, Accessibility and Design. When she's not busy working in real life, she's busy working to pay off Tom Nook's debts and building tiny furniture for her hamster.